4 Lessons from Tottenham’s win against Everton

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

1)     Fans Should Get Used to Seeing Bentaleb

When Tim Sherwood introduced 19 year old French midfielder Nabil Bentaleb in his first game against Southampton as a substitute ahead of the Etienne Capoue and Lewis Holtby, everybody was shocked. AVB never used him before even as a substitute and nobody knew how capable this young man was. However, he put on a great outing which convinced Tim Sherwood to make him a starter and now it has been 6 straight games that the Frenchmen started. It first looked like a decision that was made out of requirement as key players such as Paulinho and Sandro were out with injuries and Dembele missed a game with an ankle injury. But Paulinho and Dembele are back and it look like Bentaleb was heading to the bench but Tim Sherwood dropped Soldado in favour of the 19 year old and changed his formation to 4-3-3 to accommodate him. He put in another solid outing against Everton and now I believe even when Sandro comes back, we are going to see this promising talent a lot of times this season.

2)     High Press is Going to be Key

When the game started, there was a pretty clear image, Tottenham were getting outhustled and outcompeted in the midfield and letting Everton to dominate the game. The perfect example of that was the differences in press of both sides were applying. Everton was pressing high and not letting and Tottenham player to play the ball freely in the middle of the park. Tottenham on the other hand was sitting back and accepting the game in their defensive third as Everton kept the ball and played it back and forth and found some real opportunities that could have put the game to bed as early as the 10th minute. Tottenham did not start pressing high until after the goal which was effective as Everton could not find a single opportunity to score until the end of the game. This shows that high pressing is not only good for the offense to get the ball higher up the pitch and attack quickly but also good for the defence as the attacking team doesn’t get spaces to move the ball freely and dictate the tempo. This could be key for Sherwood if he can implant this system to the team, because the players Spurs have allow them to press high up the pitch with Dembele, Paulinho, Sandro, Capoue and Bentaleb all have the ability to tackle and win the ball even if the front line is not successful.

3)     2 Attacking Midfielders Might be the Solution

When Tottenham came out of the tunnel with 4 midfielders and Lennon, there was a bit of confusion as how the team was going to be shaped on the pitch. As the game went on, the realization was that Dembele was the X-Factor for that team. While Everton was attacking, Dembele acted as a holding midfielder helping his defence, but as soon as Tottenham started attacking, he was one of the frontrunners as he wasn’t afraid of driving past players and looking for the killer pass. This formation did not change the score line or even the slow paced, lacklustre playing style of Tottenham but often Dembele, Eriksen and Adebayor were attacking together and just missing that connection needed to open the defence. Rather than 4-4-2 with Soldado not helping the defence, Dembele could help both sides and be more effective in the game. I think this could be a solution for a team with a 0 goal difference all season and could produce some quality moments that Tottenham are so desperate to find this season.

4)     Sherwood is Capable of Changing it up During Games

A great manager should never be afraid of changing things up during game either with substitutions or formation changes. A lot of times this season, things did not go well for Tottenham in the games, and everybody was looking for AVB to change things up and spark the team in hopes of a better performance. But a lot of times, AVB either did not send in the right players or did nothing as he watched his team crumble against West Ham, Liverpool and Manchester City. Tim Sherwood on the other hand, showed that he is capable of drastic changes during games, switching his favourite 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 in games and making the right substitutions. Against Everton, Sherwood brought on Andros Townsend for Christian Eriksen to help the team have more width while attacking a solid Everton side, and after finding the goal, he brought on Capoue for Paulinho. Capoue’s ability to win the ball is better than Paulinho’s and bringing a defensive player while keeping the shape of the team was the key on that change. The last substitution can’t be evaluated because he wanted to make the fans see Defoe in action one last time at the Lane and he made that change in expense of the anonymous Aaron Lennon so no complaints there. Even though, he put Bentaleb in a difficult position on the right, it was clear that this Tottenham side was going to keep a clean sheet against a striker-less Everton. All in all it was a good performance by Tim Sherwood on the bench, but I can’t say the same thing about the match preparation as Tottenham were lucky to get the win in spite of a poor performance.

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